A diagnosis of degenerative disk disorder had sent Steve Eash-Sanford on a 15-year journey in search of pain relief. He thought he had tried everything to stop the progression from multiple rounds of spinal injections to years of physical therapy.
Each therapy brought only temporary relief. Eventually Eash-Sanford, 54, lost all the strength in his hand and lived with daily pain.
“I couldn’t grip anything,” he explained. “My life revolved around medication for the pain.”
Second opinion and new diagnosis
In 2017, his family doctor recommended Eash-Sanford get another opinion from Orthopedic Spine Surgeon Michael Hartman at Goshen Physicians Orthopedic & Sports Medicine.
“Dr. Hartman said nothing was wrong with the discs in my neck,” said Eash-Sanford. The doctor brought in Orthopedic Surgeon Christopher Owens to determine a diagnosis.
“He knew right away that it was a severe nerve problem,” explained Eash-Sanford. Nerve conduction tests showed a pinched ulnar nerve that runs from the neck to the hand as well as pressure on the median nerve in the carpal tunnel.
Team approach for treatment
The two doctors formed a treatment plan for Eash-Sanford to relieve the nerve pressure in both arms.
"We worked together to take care of Steve,” said Dr. Owens. “We planned out the best strategy to get him back to enjoying life.
Dr. Owens realigned the ulnar nerve around the elbow and released ligaments inside the carpal tunnel. Four months later, Dr. Hartman removed a spinal cord stimulator in Steve’s back. He no longer needed the TENS unit for back pain.
Life restored after 15 years of pain
“All my pain was gone right away,” he said. Eash-Sanford also stopped all the pain medication he had taken for 12 years. Within weeks, his sleep patterns improved, and he had gained back all his hand strength.
Now Eash-Sanford enjoys simple pleasures, like riding a bike, mowing the lawn or playing with his grandchildren, that had been out of reach for years. He also looks forward to finding his own path in health care. His next dream – work in a hospital as a phlebotomist.
“The doctors gave me back my life,” he explained. “This is the most positive thing that’s happened to me.”
After 15 years of pain, a second opinion changed everything for Steve Eash-Sanford.